Summary: What does it mean to put off the deeds of darkness and put on the armour of light
Rom. 13:11-14 Morston/Field Dalling
Today is the first Sunday in Advent – a time when we prepare to remember the birth of Jesus which we commemorate at Christmas.
And as we think about his birth, we do well to remember why he came to this earth. He came to reconcile us with God the Father by his death upon the Cross.
As a result, we are called to become disciples of Christ.
And it is to us as disciples of Christ that Paul’s words in Romans 13:11-14 in this morning’s epistle are addressed.
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
And do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…”
That is what Christian discipleship is all about. As Christians we are called not to conform to the morality of the non-Christian world – which often means that we will have to swim against the stream.
I would like to focus in on Rom 13:12, where Paul says
“Put away the deeds of darkness and put on the armour of light” (Rom 13:12)
The deeds of darkness are clear enough – for
example the avarice, greed and uncaring attitude
that we see so often around us - and the lack of social justice in the world.
But what, you might ask is the armour of light.
I would like to suggest that the armour of light equates to the armour of God in Ephesians 6: 10-20.
In Ephesians 6, Paul tells us to put on the full armour of God and he enumerates this as follows:
1. Stand firm then with the Belt of TRUTH, buckled around your waist.
2. With the Breastplate of RIGHTEOUSNESS in place
3. And with your feet fitted with the Readiness that comes from the GOSPEL OF PEACE
4. In addition take up the Shield of FAITH, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one
5. Take the Helmet of SALVATION and the
6. Sword of the Spirit which is the word of God.
7. And Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.
The armour of God – the armour of light is I suggest all to do with lifestyle: Do we have
1. Truth in our lives
2. Righteousness in our lives
3. A Readiness to preach the Gospel,
4. Faith in our lives
5. Assurance of Salvation,
6. Time with the Word of God – the Bible and
7. Praying in the Spirit.
These make for a powerful lifestyle.
Each of those seven aspects to the armour of God would make a sermon in itself.
Paul in Rom 13:12 is saying that we must choose to live a radical lifestyle. A lifestyle
dedicated to Jesus.
The Good News of Jesus Christ is that not only are we redeemed and reconciled to God, through Christ’s death on the Cross. We are “invited into a new life in Christ”.
The Gospel is not just about “getting to heaven” but rather experiencing the abundant life that Christ offers us - which begins here and now on this earth.
If we start to live that abundant life here on earth, then death becomes - as one commentator put it- “only a minor transition from this life to the greater Life”
St Paul said to the Christians in Corinth that:
“If any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone the new has come.” (2 Cor. 5:17)
Being a NEW CREATION must result in living a NEW LIFESTYLE.
Jesus gave the Church only one Commission - and that was to preach the Gospel to all nations.
How we live will affect how successful we are in that commission.
Most people initially respond to the Gospel – either positively or negatively - by how they like the lifestyle of the Christians they know.
Story: You may not know that Mohandas Gandhi, the famous Indian statesman was at one time very close to becoming a Christian.
In his early life, he was very attracted to the teachings of Jesus.
So much so that - when he was in South Africa - he went into a Dutch Reformed Church - to ask the pastor to tell him more about Christ.
However this was in the time of apartheid. And instead of being allowed to meet the pastor, the churchwardens physically picked him up and hurled him out of the church building. Why - because he was a “kaffa” – because he wasn’t white.